New Vintage, New Lease on Life
Along with the entire county, the Hawley Winery team prepared for evacuation a mere week after our last fruit was harvested for the 2019 vintage. A fire across the valley in Geyserville had started the evening of October 23rd and a windstorm in the forecast threatened to spread the fire straight across our county in the days following. Though we couldn't see it clearly until the week was over, it became very apparent that our lives were saved through the combined and tireless efforts of our fire crews, law enforcement and local officials. These personnel took every measure of precaution and carefully evacuated most of Northern Sonoma County. PG&E preemptively shut power off to most of the county as well, in hopes to reduce the probability of more fires starting due to downed power lines during the wind storm. No lives were lost in the Kincade fire thus far, and at 85% containment for today, we breathe a massive sigh of relief.
Our community returned home with a whole new lease on life. Downtown Healdsburg is alive and bustling, the sky is blue, green trees just beginning to change to fall colors, and one would not know there had been a fire in the area unless you knew where to look. Austin and John pressed out or last grapes, the winery is safe, and though our nerves have been affected by the fires, our new 2019 vintage has not.
The 2019 Harvest season started strong with our Estate Viognier fruit picked on August 29th. After that, we brought in Zin for Rose, Sauvignon Blanc, more Viognier, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Merlot, Rockpile Zin, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Nebbiolo, Late Harvest Zin, and on October 17th, the last fruit picked was Russian River Zinfandel! Seven weeks of harvest mania: long days, hard work, shuffling equipment, and lots of cleaning. We couldn't be happier with the quality of our fruit this year and we look forward to an epic bottling in December. If you haven't already, check out Hawley harvest photos and videos here: #HawleyHarvest2019
Harvest Has Officially Begun at Hawley Vineyard!
In the wee hours this morning, with the help of Clendenan Vineyard Management, we harvested and crushed our very first fruit of the season! Our 2019 Estate Viognier fruit, which is certified organic, is at the perfect sugar and pH levels for making into Sparkling Viognier!! For those of you who had the opportunity to try our first vintage of Sparkling Viognier last year, you're in for another treat even tastier! This time around we are whole-cluster pressing this fruit, which should lend to a better finessed wine. Whole-cluster pressing means that we are foregoing the standard steps of de-stemming and crushing the berries and, instead, simply pressing the entire clusters whole. It is a gentler approach and most often used when making high end, delicate white wines as the technique lends itself to less oxidation and astringency. Get more behind the scenes footage and updates throughout our harvest season by following #HawleyHarvest2019 and liking Hawley on Facebook!
CLICK HERE TO WATCH!
Hawley Viognier and Cabernet named Top 100 Wines of Sonoma County by Sonoma Magazine!
Thank you Sonoma Magazine for helping our wine community to feel a little more put together in the wake of the fires. We are happy to welcome new wine-curious generations to explore our sweet little spot on this planet. Read on for the introduction or see the full list here.
100 Best Sonoma Wines 2018- Sonoma Magazine, Published November 2018
"A year ago, wildfires ripped through Sonoma County, destroying lives, homes, and businesses. Wine Country became Fire Country in the eyes of the world, yet paradoxically, flames did relatively little damage to local wineries and vineyards.
Paradise Ridge Winery, located in Santa Rosa’s Fountaingrove area, was demolished by the Tubbs fire, but this was the worst of it for Sonoma wineries. A few suffered structural damage, which they’ve since repaired.
Backfires intentionally set protected many wineries, including Sonoma Valley’s Arrowood Winery, from the conflagration.
But the major savers of Sonoma wines are the grapevines themselves, living plants with moisture in their veins. They served as natural firebreaks, with flames moving on to easier targets such as trees, brush, and structures.
Paradise Ridge is rebuilding, with its LOVE art sculpture standing strong after the fires. We celebrate that, and all recovery efforts, with this Top 100 Wines list. It’s heavy in sparkling wines — to toast Sonoma’s resilient personality — and with plenty of Chardonnays, Sauvignon Blancs, Pinot Noirs, and Zinfandels to please all crowds.
Welcome to resurgent Sonoma." - Sonoma Magazine, Published November 2018
"Grapes from the Hawley family’s estate vineyard in Dry Creek Valley, and purchased fruit from a site in Russian River Valley, comprise this delicious, easy-going wine. Honeysuckle, peach, apricot, and pear character come at a fair price for Viognier."
"Made with organically grown grapes, it’s packed with dark fruit — blackberry, dark plum, and blueberry — yet 20 percent Cabernet Franc adds a floral note to the aromas and brightness to the palate. Low in oak influence and high-acid structure, it’s a baby certain to age nicely with cellaring."
5 Gold Medals from Orange County Fair - Commercial Wine Competition!!!
Following closely to family tradition, our winemaker Austin Hawley, continues to focus on the fine nuances of a well-made Viognier and we are proud to announce that our upcoming releases have been recognized, again, as such! In addition, upcoming releases of a new Rockpile Zinfandel, our cult Petite Sirah and a new Alexander Valley Cabernet Franc will be included in upcoming wine club releases this Fall 2019 and next Spring 2020. Club members will always get first crack at these offerings! Join our wine club to secure your stash of award-winning Hawley wines.
Thanks to the Orange County Fair, we have been awarded high ratings and gold medals for the following wines:
2018 Viognier, Sonoma County, 91 Points
2018 Estate Viognier, Hawley Vineyard, 90 Points
2017 Cabernet Franc, Alexander Valley, 90 Points
2017 Zinfandel, Rockpile 90 Points
2017 Reserve Petite Sirah, Dry Creek Valley, 91 points
The Secret that Healdsburg Locals Don't Want Others To Know
Savvy travelers know that flights on Fridays-Sundays are always more expensive than mid-week. If you're looking to take some time off work to schedule a much-needed escape to wine country, here's an insider tip. Many locals work in hospitality and the weekends flourish with travelers enjoying wine country weddings, wine club parties, whirlwind wine tastings and delicious farm-to-table dinners. When do the locals get their turn to enjoy a bit of the good life? The answer is Tuesday Nights on the Plaza! Locals and those savvy travelers come together and dance their pants off in the Downtown Plaza! Tuesday Nights on the Plaza offers a FREE live concert every Tuesday night during the summer, accompanied with vendors offering fresh, local food! Hawley Winery's Tasting Room & Gallery, situated right around the corner from the plaza, will be stocked with award-winning wines, bay-area cheeses, crackers and even to-go cups that you may bring with you to enjoy your wines on the plaza!
Enjoy a FREE Live outdoor concert, sip wine and picnic with friends from 5:00pm-8:00pm every Tuesday between May 28th and August 27th! Click here for official website and sponsor information!
2019 Tuesdays in the Plaza Schedule
|May 28||Roy Rogers and the Delta Rhythm Kings||Slide Guitar/ Blues||http://www.roy-rogers.com/|
|June 4||King Street Giants||Trad Jazz||https://www.thekingstreetgiants.com/|
|June 11||Sol Horizon
w/ Movie in the Plaza after the concert! (in English with Spanish subtitles)
|High Vibes Reggae||http://solhorizon.com/|
|June 18||Gator Nation Band||New Orleans R&B||https://www.gatornationband.com/|
|June 25||Sal's Greenhouse||Funk / Soul||https://www.salsgreenhouse.com|
|July 2||The Sorentinos||Retro Rock & Roll||http://www.thesorentinos.com/|
w/ Movie in the Plaza after the concert! (in English with Spanish subtitles)
|Disco / Funk / Soul||https://www.afroliciousmusic.com/|
|July 16||Sunny and the Black Pack||Soul, R&B and Rock||https://www.blackpack.info/|
|July 23||Volker Strifler Band||Blues / Rock||https://www.reverbnation.com/volkerstrifler|
|July 30||Midtown Social||Dance Party Beats||https://www.midtownsocialband.com/|
|August 6||Soul Fuse||Soul / Funk / R&B||http://www.soulfuseband.com/|
|August 13||Los Cenzontles
w/ Celebration of Latino Music & Art & Movies in the Plaza after the concert (in Spanish with English subtitles)
|Traditional Mexican Music||https://www.loscenzontles.com/band|
|August 20||The Carolyn Sills Combo||Spaghetti Western Swing||https://www.carolynsills.com/|
|August 27||The Duvets||Dance Rock||https://www.duvetsrock.com/|
General Concert Rules
Please note the following rules are to ensure everyone's safety and enjoyment of the concerts:
Tuesdays in the Plaza are pet-free events. Service animals specifically trained to aid individuals with a disability are allowed.
Chairs and blankets left unattended prior to 4:00pm will be removed. Please keep group seating as compact as possible.
Tables, blankets, and reserved group seating are not permitted on the concrete. Pop-up tents and shade structures are not permitted. Tables must not obstruct the view of other concert attendees.
Alcohol consumption is only permitted from 5:00pm - 8:00pm.
Scooters, skateboards, and bicycles may not be ridden in the park or on the surrounding sidewalks.
Barbeques are not permitted in the park.
Smoking is not permitted in the park.
We look forward to seeing you in the Plaza!
No time to plan your picnic? We got you!
Call our Hawley Tasting Room on Tuesdays before 6pm for your take-out cheese, crackers AND chilled wine!
Springtime in the Vineyard
We are excited to announce that bloom is nearly here! Our vines have been developing quickly since we pruned last month. CLICK HERE to watch a video about our vineyard pruning techniques. In that video, John talks about how we prune our vines and why he likes to wait until buds begin to swell before pruning. What is really interesting is how different the vines look now!
In the past 32 days, we have seen bud break, shoot growth and even cluster formation! With the heavy rains throughout winter, and the sun shining bright these days, we have high hopes for harvest this year! We are keeping everyone in the loop with behind the scenes photos and video clips as our vines develop and our harvest begins! Follow @hawleywine on Instagram and Hawley Winery on Facebook for more.
Better yet: Follow hashtag #HawleyHarvest2019 for fun harvest footage as we go!
Discovering the meaning of family grape farms in the US
“Driving onto the Hawley Bradford Mountain estate 1,000 feet above sea level on a cold winter day, I thought of Premier Cru — French official classifications of vineyards that produce superior wine. Brilliant blue skies and white billowy clouds framed the rolling hills and vineyards patterned into the lay of this land.
Most winter mornings, fog blankets the steep and rocky hillside soils of these extraordinary vineyards. Nine acres are planted to organically grown grapes, mostly red, on vines that ideally struggle for water and nutrients.
The intention of my visit with John Hawley and his sons, Paul and Austin, was to examine more closely where we have journeyed in the past four decades of California winegrowing. Where we are headed with the next generation.
In the 1980s Sonoma County was the land of opportunity. John with his bride, Dana, a classically trained biological illustrator, settled their family on 18 pristine acres above West Dry Creek Valley.
A graduate from UC Davis with a degree in enology, John apprenticed in the vineyards and made wine with Lou Preston. Soon after, he was hired at Clos du Bois, and then honed his skills as a winemaker for Kendall-Jackson. Looking to his own property for inspiration, in 1996 John established Hawley Winery.
“Growing up it didn’t seem sustainable to follow our father into the wine business. A one-man show with long hours, it was a struggle,” observed younger son Austin. “When my brother and I returned from working in vineyards and wineries in Australia and New Zealand, we had a more global understanding of the wine business. It was then we realized our commitment to the family land, and that Sonoma County is one of the best growing regions in the world.”
Paul and Austin are graduates of University of California at Santa Cruz. In joining the family business, Paul’s interest and degree in business made him the obvious choice as general manager. Austin, a pre-med student studying biological sciences, had always been interested in winemaking with his father. John appreciates that both sons have great palates for winemaking.
“Culture is changing,” said John, “and each generation brings their own ideas and refinement with it. In early years, we looked to France where great wines were being made. We studied what they were doing and soon realized our grapes in California were riper and we were in a perfect place to make wine. This new generation is not as tied to tradition as we were. They aren’t as concerned with the First Growths of France,” John continued.
“Our real opportunity with multi-generational winegrowing,” Austin said, “is that Dad created the foundation. He cultivated this awesome hillside property and built the winery. It was his generation that convinced consumers that Sonoma County is a world-class wine destination. My brother and I watched the town of Healdsburg convert from hardware stores on the plaza to tasting rooms.”
Defining perhaps the greatest aspects of generational farming, John acknowledges his sons are making better wines.
“Each year they learn more about our vineyard and what it does best,” he said.
Often, while they’re working, Paul and Austin’s children spend time on the farm with their grandparents, experiencing nature as they did growing up.
Like many modern farming families, the Hawley’s are reshaping the landscape of American agriculture. This multi-generational family works together for the betterment of the land.
World-class soils and climate, biodiversity with organic vineyards and assorted gardens, John devoted to falconry, Dana, the matriarch having set the stage with her talent and creativity, using the land as inspiration for magnificent art. Austin perfecting estate wines, designing tasting room furniture from reclaimed wine barrels. Paul directing winery efforts, while crafting Nebbiolo wine and brews from hops grown on their land.
I realize it is sacrilegious to suggest that in America we can have anything similar to a Premier Cru. So what words can we use to acknowledge the vital winegrowing movement that has been underway for decades? Families with reverence for superior land with ideal terroir on which they build their lives. Lives abundant with ingenuity and inspiration, complementary crops and artistic endeavors.
Farming in America is continuingly evolving with sustainable practices and diverse uses for the land. Winegrowing families like the Hawley’s are leading this transformation. “
-Maria Gewirtz, The Healdsburg Tribune, Wine Words, March 14, 2019
HAWLEY AWARDED THREE DOUBLE-GOLDS!!!
The San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition is the largest wine competition in Northern California! We are very excited to announce that our following wines came back with double-gold medals:
2018 Sauvignon Blanc, Hopkins River Ranch, Russian River Valley
2017 Chardonnay, Hopkins River Ranch, Russian River Valley
2017 Zinfandel, Treborce Vineyard, Dry Creek Valley
FUN FACT #1: All three of these wines are planned for release in our April 2019 wine club allotment! Not yet a member of the Hawley Wine Club? That's an easy fix...
FUN FACT #2: Our die-hard Ponzo Zinfandel Fans learned really quickly that the Treborce Zin would be a stellar stand in! Well who'd a thought it would be such a ham?? Good thing lots of folks stocked up with this double-gold medal winner as a FUTURES wine last March 2018 and purchased it at nearly wholesale pricing! Would you like to learn more about buying Hawley wines at 30-35% off? Join our mailing list! or Check out our events page to get details about Barrel Tasting 2019!
January can be pretty dreary in a vineyard, but since we plant a cover crop and, additionally, because we don't use Roundup or other herbicides, we are seeing wildflowers pop up all over! Seeds for our cover crop are planted in November each year after harvest. Planting a cover crop helps us to enrich our soil naturally; we plant oat straw, vetch, sweet peas, bell beans, clover, and many other nitrogen fixing plants. Once mature, usually in April, these plants are tilled into the soil to provide more nutrients for our organic vineyard. We have been enjoying a downpour of rain this week and look forward to seeing our cover crop grow nice and tall these next couple of months!
Nebbiolo is an Italian red grape associated with the Piedmonte region in Northern Italy and is the varietal component of Barolo and Barbaresco wines. It makes a wine that is often lighter in color, high in acidity and tannin, with signature notes of cherry and rose. The high acidity and tannin make it a difficult variety to work with in order to craft a balanced wine. However, it is these exact factors which make it a wine with a definitive potential for aging. For example, Barolo requires a minimum of 3 years aging before release, and almost 5 years for ‘riserva.’ 2015 is the first year we made Nebbiolo and there is only a handful of acres planted in Sonoma County. It is an exciting grape to work with because it is so unique. It is a late ripening grape and is always the last vineyard we pick. It needs extensive aging to soften the structure and acidity. Nebbiolo is not for the impatient but it’s worth the wait!
HARVEST WRAP UP 2018
The 2018 vintage started with a sprint but turned into a marathon. Warm temperatures all summer long promised a hasty harvest, but calm, cool weather in late August pushed our first pick until September 7th! The sun shone bright in September and we expected everything to ripen at the same time, but nature had other plans. In early October we were hit with a few days of cool temperatures and unexpected rain. The vines soaked up the water and the grape sugar levels dropped. It took another two weeks for the grapes to reach sugar maturity again, but this extra time allowed for flavors to develop. We picked our last fruit (Cab, Zin and Nebbiolo) on October 27th. We have been very happy with the quality and balance in all the wines we made this year.
The 2018 growing season started out with a bang as the early and prolonged heat-wave in June had everyone bracing for an early harvest. Turns out, the weather had other plans as unseasonably cool temps settled into the region throughout July and August, resulting in one of the latest harvests we've had in years! We are pleased to see the crop levels in our vineyards are abundant yet not over-cropped. The vines are experiencing longer ripening periods which will help allow for full flavor development, while the cooler temps of the past couple months will help retain acidity in the fruit. In areas where nighttime temperatures remain warm grapes continue to develop at night, and instead of using photosynthesis as energy, they utilize the acid in the berries. Fortunately for us, Sonoma County boasts a wide diurnal variation (hot days, cool nights) which is perfect for giving the vines a chance to rest and to maintain acid levels.
MAX, THE HAWLEY VINEYARD FALCON
John Hawley has been an avid falconer since the age of 15. Here are some endearing tidbits about his current bird, Max, a Peregrine Falcon he has raised as a hatchling:
- Flight Speed: Up to 240 miles an hour in a dive.
- Wingspan: 3.3 to 3.6ft.
- Accommodations: He slept in the bed with John for the first week and now lives in a hawk house called a mews.
- Training: Max is currently training to chase a lure that John swings to mimic prey. In a few weeks he will be ready to hunt game..
- Favorite Food: In the wild falcons hunt ducks, dove, and quail. Max gets farm raised quail for dinner.
- Job: Falconry was developed around 2000 B.C. to hunt game. Today, falcons are used for bird abatement around airports, dumps and vineyards. Max helps keep birds away from our estate grapes before harvest..